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PM Modi, South African President welcome WTO agreement on COVID-19 vaccines

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Schloss Elmau | June 27, 2022 10:55:43 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany on Monday and welcomed the WTO agreement reached in June that supports the production of COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries.

In October 2020, India and South Africa requested a temporary waiver to intellectual property protections that would allow countries to produce versions of Covid-19 products more easily. Despite receiving support from more than 100 countries, this draft has stalled due to opposition from a small number of wealthy states.

A new draft ministerial decision was discussed and eventually adopted at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held from June 12 to 17. Rather than waive intellectual property protections, it provides some clarifications to current "flexibilities" and an exception to an export restriction on Covid-19 vaccines for the duration of five years.

PM Modi and Ramaphosa reviewed the progress made in bilateral relations between the two countries, particularly following the signing of the Strategic Programme of Cooperation in 2019.

"They expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in defence, education and agriculture sectors, and reiterated the need for further deepening bilateral cooperation in areas like trade and investment, food security, defence, pharmaceuticals, digital financial inclusion, skill development, insurance, health and people to people contacts," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

"Both leaders also welcomed the WTO agreement reached in June 2022 that supports the production of COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries. India and South Africa had submitted the first proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19," the statement added.

Discussions were also held on continued coordination in multilateral bodies and the need for their reform, particularly the UN Security Council, MEA said.

"PM @narendramodi met President @CyrilRamaphosa of South Africa on the @G7 margins. Discussed further expanding our bilateral ties in trade, investment, defence, pharmaceuticals, food security and more. Agreed to continue close cooperation in both regional and multilateral fora," the MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

The Prime Minister said talks with Ramaphosa covered diverse sectors including economic cooperation, improving connectivity and deepening ties in food processing and FinTec.

"Glad to have met President @CyrilRamaphosa in Germany. Our talks covered diverse sectors including economic cooperation, improving connectivity and deepening ties in food processing and FinTech," PM Modi tweeted.

Besides the South African President, PM Modi also met leaders of France, Indonesia and the host nation Germany.

On the second day of the summit in Elmau, the main focus of the G7 heads of state and government was continued support for Ukraine.

On Sunday, the German Chancellor German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the heads of state and government of the G7 to the summit under the German presidency. The economically strong democracies come together in Schloss Elmau for three days.

"We are united by our view of the world. We are also united by our belief in democracy and the rule of law," said Chancellor Scholz at the beginning of the summit.

In a first working session on Sunday, the heads of state and government of the G7 discussed global economic issues.

"All G7 countries are concerned about the crises that are currently to be overcome - falling growth rates in some countries, rising inflation, shortages of raw materials and disruption to supply chains. These are no small challenges and it is therefore important to share responsibility," said Scholz.

"The G7 are a good community to develop joint responses to the challenges of our time. It is important that we act decisively and also as a unit. Both belong together," he added.

PM Modi arrived in Munich on Sunday to attend the G7 summit.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Modi addressed and interacted with the Indian community in Germany at the Audi Dome, Munich. Thousands of members of the vibrant Indian community in Germany participated in the event. (ANI)

 
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